Sandra and Bobby have been residents of Kingsland since August 2001, when they relocated to the beautiful Hill Country. They believe that God has orchestrated our journey to get here, even way back then.
Bobby served in the military for 15 ½ years before leaving for full time ministry. When he was active, he commuted daily to Ft. Hood. He had a tour in Korea and 2 to Iraq. Once he left the military, he served as Pastor of First Baptist in Tow for about 3 years. He left that position to complete his Seminary education and be a stay a home dad for the first two years of their son’s life.
Sometime between that and now, they have become a family with a combat injured veteran. Bobby began showing significant symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in late 2014, and it has completely changed their lives. Though his family is extremely proud of him, this diagnosis has led to quite an adjustment. Every day has it’s challenges. As a Clinical Social Worker, Sandra can manage and understand more about his disease process than the average spouse, but it’s still very difficult. They pray that he will one day return to be more like his old self, but know that even if not, God has a plan. He has placed a part of the plan in Sandra’s heart.
In early 2017, God impressed on Sandra that she needed to see about helping families in similar situations as theirs. Various plans crossed her mind, but God consistently led her back to “open a facility that could serve as a retreat for veterans and their families.” A place for them to find solace and peace. A place to disconnect from the world and their struggles, and reconnect with God and their families. A place that gives them something to look forward to being able to return to in the future.
Why Exfil? In military tactics, extraction (also exfiltration or exfil), is the process of removing personnel when it is considered imperative that they be immediately relocated out of a hostile environment and taken to a secure area. (That's a Wikipedia definition because it explains it simply). This will allow for Veterans and their families to be removed from their environment and come out, disconnect, and maybe relax a little bit while they work to refill their tanks.
Sandra has observed that many veterans feel more comfortable alone, in the woods. Research shows that nature can help with healing for people who have had traumas in their lives. Spiritually, it makes sense too. During rough times, Bobby has mentioned just wanting to go out to some remote location and just be. He has been known to sleep outside from time to time, just to unwind and disconnect. Bobby was a very social person before his illness showed itself. We know he misses being in the ministry very much. Bobby sometimes questions if God will allow him to return to some form of ministry. All at once, Sandra was struck that they would be in a position to help others like them, while bringing those that need to be ministered to a specific location. If Bobby couldn’t be in a full-time position, those needing assistance could be brought near him. Sandra is faithful that it could be a big missing piece of Bobby’s recovery as well.
PTSD impacts not only the veteran, but also the family. There are many amazing organizations that help veterans. Bobby has been on some fabulous trips over the past few years. But there is a gap in services like these to the veteran and their family together. In the Galyon household, one of the “adjustments” has been that Sandra and their son (Asher, 6 years old) often take trips, but alone. In a sense, they created their own retreats, but alone. Bobby is always invited, but they understand full well that he might not be able to go. 99% of the time he doesn’t. He can’t do SeaWorld, Six Flags, malls, concerts, parks, soccer games, school functions, etc. There are times he can’t make it to church, which is generally considered safe. Sandra’s vision will be fulfilled in Operation Exfil’s mission statement.
Some activities that they plan to incorporate allow for fishing, hunting, swimming, relaxing, playgrounds, interactions with farm animals, outdoor games and activities, and restoration of the family. How important these few days could mean to a family that can’t be together otherwise due to illness and stressors. It could help normalize the experience as the spouses and children come to realize that they aren’t the only ones in this position. Since we aim to serve no more than 2-3 families at a time, we will be able to provide somewhat individualized experiences. We will strive to pair families with similar needs or interests to help foster a supportive environment.
We are a Christian family and we will be clear about that, but we want make certain that it is understood that if you do not agree with our beliefs, you are still welcome. Our love and support will be extended to all who come out to see us.
So, there we have it. We hope that you join us in this
adventure in Helping Heroes Find Solace!
We have just started a funding campaign. Our first goal is $2 Million dollars. It's a big goal, but meeting this will mean we would purchase the property free and clear, be able to make certain changes, and keep us funded for a time after. We hope you will help!
Every dollar helps!
Those who support us in this initial campaign, will be honored on our Founder's Wall. We can't do it without your help! We are finalizing thoughts on what that will look like,
but the levels will be as such:
Silver $5,000 - $9,999
Titanium $10,000 - 19,999
Gold $20,000 - $49,999
Platinum $50,000 - $99,999
Diamond $100,000 +
Levels will be determined by total annual giving (Now -December 31, 2018)
Operation Exfil is has a Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement with Packsaddle Fellowship, a local registered 501c3. Because of this, donations to our organization are tax deductible, as allowable by law.
Checks are accepted through our mailing address listed below. We are working to accept credit cards and exploring online giving options. Please contact us if you would like to donate so that we can discuss the available options.
And now, a few more words about our founders.
Sandra Galyon is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Board Approved Supervisor. She completed her undergraduate degree at Baylor University and her graduate degree at the University of Texas Austin. Sandra has been a Social Worker since 2000. She has worked with persons diagnosed with Major Mental Illnesses, in Crisis Intervention, and as a Medical Social Worker. She has worked with children, adults, and families in both individual and group settings. She grew up in Texas City, TX, but has come to know the Texas Hill Country as her home. She is active in various groups in the community. She currently is chair of the local Suicide Prevention Taskforce.
Bobby Galyon is an Army Veteran. He served 2 tours in Iraq and is a Bronze Star recipient. He left the military after 15.5 years to go into full time ministry. He completed his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Liberty University. He has a Master's in Divinity. He has a heart for veterans and wants to help as much as he is able. He was born and raised in East Tennessee, but has remained in the Hill Country since his time in the Army at Fort Hood. Bobby is working hard on his recovery. He has the help of his service dog and his great team of professionals at the VA.
Bobby and Sandra have been married since 1995. Their son Asher is very much into animals and learning how things work. He will be a great asset to our adventure.
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We strive to provide FREE retreat weekends for Combat Injured Veterans and their families. We want to individualize each experience to match the needs and wants of the family. This could include, but is not limited to hunting, fishing, farming, ranching, outdoor games and activities, massage, trips to local State Parks, etc.
Our retreats will be limited to those who meet criteria on the application process. We will aim to have lunches and other activities for all veterans to participate in, but the retreats will be for those eligible veteran families. More will be announced soon.
There are many veteran families who struggle with how to cope with their loved one's PTSD. In many cases, there is secondary PTSD and that can increase the complexity of the issue.
This is important to let families reconnect and meet with other families who are experiencing similar things. It can be validating and healing, while expanding their support network. Simply knowing that other people are going through similar things is huge. As much as we love our family and friends, if you haven't lived it, you might not get it. Sometimes families are not able to share details with their family or friends, leaving them to feel more isolated and alone. We hope to help make sure they realize that they are not alone and that there is support.
We are different because we want to engage the veteran and their family. There are many great resources for the veteran, but the family often feels left out. Not out of jealousy, but sometimes because they do not understand or believe that it is ok for them to have issues as they go through this process.
Check out this information about marital adjustment and divorce rates among PTSD Veterans from Jennifer L. Price, PhD & Susan P. Stevens, PsyD:
"Male Veterans with PTSD are more likely to report marital or relationship problems, higher levels of parenting problems, and generally poorer family adjustment than Veterans without PTSD. (2,6,7) Research has shown that Veterans with PTSD are less self-disclosing and expressive with their partners than Veterans without PTSD. (8) PTSD Veterans and their wives have also reported a greater sense of anxiety around intimacy. (7) Sexual dysfunction also tends to be higher in combat Veterans with PTSD than in Veterans without PTSD. (9) It has been posited that diminished sexual interest contributes to decreased couple satisfaction and adjustment. (10)
Related to impaired relationship functioning, a high rate of separation and divorce exists in the veteran population (those with PTSD and those without PTSD). Approximately 38% of Vietnam veteran marriages failed within six months of the veteran's return from Southeast Asia. (11) The overall divorce rate among Vietnam Veterans is significantly higher than for the general population, and rates of divorce are even higher for Veterans with PTSD. The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS) found that both male and female Veterans without PTSD tended to have longer-lasting relationships with their partners than their counterparts with PTSD. (3) Rates of divorce for Veterans with PTSD were two times greater than for Veterans without PTSD. Moreover, Veterans with PTSD were three times more likely than Veterans without PTSD to divorce two or more times."
There are many reputable resources. Check back as more are added.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts to hurt or kill themselves, please know that help IS always available. 24/7!
National Crisis Hotline: 800-273-8255, Press 1
Send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support
We will start receiving applications as soon we can meet our financial goals to get started! Feel free to contact us if you would like more information ! Check back later or subscribe so you won't miss the announcement. In the meantime, help us share our organization with others so we can get started faster!